People's Democracy

(Weekly Organ of the Communist Party of India (Marxist)


Vol. XXXIV

No. 03

January 17, 2010

Editorial

 

POLITICS OF TERROR IN WEST BENGAL

 

Defeat This Diabolical Agenda

 

AS we go to press,  a massive peaceful bandh is being observed in the South 24 Parganas district of West Bengal at the call of the Left Front in protest against the gruesome killing of four CPI(M) activists in Narayanpur on January 11, 2010 (details are carried in the Polit Bureau statement). All the seven others grievously injured  are currently battling for their life in a critical condition. The politics of terror unleashed by the Trinamul Congress continues to claim  the lives of CPI(M) activists and other progressive elements in the state. 

While Trinamul Congress is unleashing this politics of terror in its aim to capture power in the state, it is continuing to provide patronage and cover to the Maoists, who, in turn,  continue  their rampage  against CPI(M) activists.  Since the Lok Sabha elections, nearly 200 CPI(M) leaders and activists have been martyred by these  TMC and Maoist marauders acting in concert.  In the districts of West Midnapore, Bankura and Purulia, the Maoists are continuing to target the CPI(M).  On January 7, Haren Baske, a member of the Jhilimili CPI(M) local committee, was murdered by the Maoists in Bankura district.  Earlier, Rameshwar Murmu, branch secretary of Bhuladara was shot dead on December 25, 2009.  Three days later, on December 28, Comrade Kalidas Hembram was hacked to death.  In the neighbouring Purulia district, CPI(M) leader Dhanu Rajak, local committee secretary in the Dhadka village was shot dead on January 9. 

In the meanwhile, police operations in the Lalgarh area have yielded a large haul of weapons that had been amassed by the Maoists in the past for their murderous  attacks  on the CPI(M).  The joint operations by the centre and the state government against the Maoists had to be reduced due to the elections to the state assembly in Jharkhand where the central forces were deployed.  With these now completed, central and the state forces have now re-launched the operations.

This has earned a sharp rebuke from the TMC supremo.  Confirming the connection between the TMC and the Maoists and, in a way, also confirming that the TMC had patronised and facilitated the entry of the Maoists into West Bengal in order to use  the terror that they unleash to facilitate the TMC's electoral fortunes, Ms. Mamata Banerjee came out strongly against the central government and the union home minister. On January 9, she said: “The centre has surrendered to the CPI(M) by agreeing to launch the anti-Maoist offensive by the joint forces”.  She went on to accuse  the centre of “surrendering to the CPI(M)” by sending  central forces to Lalgarh.  She went to the extent of announcing an agitation to highlight the “ineffectiveness” of anti-Maoist offensive.

Once again, the TMC, in its urge to reap electoral benefit in West Bengal, is openly protecting  and facilitating Maoist terror and violence in the state.  This is a stand that runs into direct  contradiction with  the prime minister and the union home minister's repeated articulation that Maoist violence constitutes the gravest threat to India's internal security.    How can the Congress continue with this untenable situation of having TMC members in the very same cabinet presided over by prime minister?     This is a question whose answer the country and the people need to know. 

In a brazen display of anti-democratic attitude, the central ministers belonging to the TMC continue to boycott public functions where the chief minister and other ministers of West Bengal are present.  This is, in fact, anti-constitutional.  The Indian constitution provides for  legitimate authority to both the central and state governments  and in the discharge of their responsibilities, the central ministers are bound to interact with the state government and its ministers.  The railway minister has announced that she will be boycotting two important functions – the 150th anniversary of St. Xavier's College and a union culture ministry function  at the Science City Auditorium – that the prime minister will be attending in Kolkata on January 16 since the state chief minister will also be present. 

Such brazen anti-democratic  stance coupled with the politics of terror, in their desperate bid to capture power in the state, is leading to situation where innocent people suffer and innocent life consumed.  On January 9, a blazing fire broke out at noon in a slum of 450 shanties on railway land (as claimed by the railway minister) in Ultadanga  in Kolkata.  The TMC had called for a bandh that afternoon from 2 pm.  Despite the raging fire that destroyed all the shanties and claimed one life, the TMC refused to allow the fire engines to reach the spot to protect the life and property of the slum dwellers.  Such is their concern for the poor!  Speculation is rife that there is more in this incident than that which meets the eye.  A few days earlier, railway officials had conducted a survey exploring the possibilities for constructing a multi-purpose complex on this land as a follow-up of the fanciful announcement made in the railway budget.  This fire and the Trinamul Congress's bandh preventing the fire engines from protecting the shanties has made the task much easier for the railway authorities, who, otherwise would have had to make a great deal of effort for clearing the slum.  Only time will tell the truth. 

As 2010 begins, these developments are, indeed, very ominous signs not only for West Bengal  but for the very democratic polity in our country.  Such cynical and anti-human methods of unleashing terror, violence and callousness  in the pursuit of  electoral benefits  is not only irresponsible but gravely injurious  to the health of Indian democracy and democratic institutions.  The people of Bengal had, four decades ago, courageously faced  and defeated such anti-democratic anarchic forces and the politics of terror unleashed by an earlier avatar  of the Maoists – the  naxalites. The people of Bengal had to pay a very heavy price. Unfortunately, Bengal is being pushed into such a direction, once again!  For the sake of protecting and strengthening Indian democracy and social harmony, such a diabolical agenda should not be allowed to succeed. 

(January 13, 2010)